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15 Cities with the Highest Autism Rates in America

Given that the research up to date shows an increase in the prevalence of autism in the past three decades, we at Insider Monkey thought that creating a list of cities with the highest autism rates in America would make for an interesting piece of information.

While many of us have heard about autism in media, or we know someone who is diagnosed as being autistic, there is a lack of knowledge about what autism actually is and what causes it and how it is treated. According to Autism Speaks and the Center for Disease and Control Prevention, autistic spectrum disorder is characterized by deficits in social communication and social interaction across various contexts. Challenges with social skills, repetitive behavior, speech and nonverbal communication, unique strengths and differences are characteristics of autism. The term spectrum is used in order to reflect the variation in challenges and strengths possessed by each person diagnosed as being autistic.

Cities with the Highest Autism Rates in America

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The first symptoms of autism can be identified as early as 6 months old, however, professionals usually wait until 18 months to make a final diagnosis. Some authors claim that a definite diagnosis can’t be established until child is three years old. Various studies of autism have shown evidence that the ratio of autistic men to women ranges from 2:1 to 16:1. Autistic spectrum disorder incorporates autistic disorder, Asperger’s disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder (CDD) and pervasive developmental disorder. People diagnosed as having Asperger’s disorder have an IQ often above the average, but still have trouble interacting with others. The first symptoms of childhood disintegrative disorder cannot be noticed until a child reaches the age of 2 or 3, where they might show signs of normal development, but at this age, social skills deteriorate and the diagnosis ensues.

Scientists and researchers still cannot provide a definite answer as to what causes autism. Some research suggests that genetic components play a significant role, however, significant components cannot only account for an increase in autism prevalence in the past few decades. For this reason, researchers are also looking into environmental factors. Vaccines are being researched as one of the causes of autism, however, the evidence gathered, as of now, is too poor to confirm the causal relation between vaccines and autism. Another component that is being researched is GMOs. Some research suggests that there is a link between glyphosate, an ingredient in the weed-killer Roundup, and autism. This ingredient is found in other pesticides and herbicides as well. While the research continues to expand so does the prevalence of autism.

Scientific American refers to the statistical data provided by U.S. Department of Education for the period 1993 to 2003. This data shows an increase of 657 percent in the nationwide rate of autism. In case you were wondering where autism is most prevalent, you should read our article on 11 Countries with the Highest Rates of Autism in the World. If you are looking for the data concerning lowest autism rates in the world, then you should check out our article 12 Developed Countries with Lowest Autism Rates. Professor Eric Fombonne suggests that it would be difficult to do a comparative study of autism rates worldwide that would include all of the countries primarily because the research on autism still has not been done in many countries. The USA, Canada and the UK are considered to be the pioneers of research on autism. He also states that different methods are applied in every study and that language and culture affect the way research is carried out.

Statistical data has once again placed New Jersey as having the highest autism rate, with 1 in 41 children being autistic. The data concerns the 12 year period, from 2000 to 2012 and it shows a steady increase in autism in the USA. Researchers provide no clear answer as to the devastating statistics of autism in New Jersey. Apart from taking into account the assumed causes of autism, they argue that changes in diagnosis and treatment, greater awareness, and better record keeping“ might explain the increase in the prevalence of autism over the years. It is difficult to determine whether the number of children with autism has increased or they are more visible than before.

Autism is a lifelong condition for which there is no cure. Given that there are variations in diagnosis, treatment should be designed to address person’s needs. Typically, autism is treated through behavioral treatments, medicines or both.

There is no data available that specifically concerns autism rates by city. Autism is found in clusters and results are presented as autism statistics by country. When creating the list of the cities with the highest autism rates in America we have taken into account autism statistics by state.  In ranking the cities we considered their population and estimated what the number of autistic people would be given the statistical data on autism. If autistic cluster maps for each state were available as well as autism statistics for more states, the research would certainly have more quality. However, apart from autism cluster map of California other cluster maps are not to be found, so this list should be taken with a pinch of salt.

15. Gilbert, AZ

Located southeast of Phoenix, this city is populated by around 250,000 people. Arizona ranks 6th on the list of states where autism is most prevalent. Considering the statistical data regarding autism in Arizona, which estimates that 1 out of 64 people is autistic, the estimated number of autistic people who live in Gilbert is 3,867.

Cities with the Highest Autism Rates in America

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14. Chandler, AZ

Located in the same area as Gilbert, Chandler has the population of 260,820 people. This means that there are approximately 4,075 autistic people living in this city.

Cities with the Highest Autism Rates in America

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13. St. Louis, MO

This major city in Missouri has an estimated population of 315,680. Missouri ranks 7th on the list of states with autism prevalence. It’s 13th on our list of cities with the highest autism rates in America. Statistics show that 1 out of 70 people in Missouri state is autistic, which means that around 4,509 people with autism live in St. Louis.

Cities with the Highest Autism Rates in America

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12. Durham, NC

This city located in North Carolina has population of approximately 267,636 people. According to the statistical data available, 1 of 53 people living in North Carolina is diagnosed as being autistic. This statistic places North Carolina 2nd on the list of states with highest autism prevalence. This data means that there are around 4,861 people living in Durham who are affected by autism.

Cities with the Highest Autism Rates in America

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11. Jersey City, NJ

New Jersey has been at the top of the list as having the highest prevalence of autism for a couple of years in a row. Taking into account the population of Jersey City, an estimated 247,597 people, and statistics which say that 1 in 46 people in New Jersey are autistic, there are approximately 5,382 autistic people living in the second most populous city in New Jersey.

Cities with the Highest Autism Rates in America

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10. Greensboro, NC

This is the third largest city in North Carolina in terms of population. It’s home to an estimated 285,342 people, and it is close to Durham. It is calculated that there are 5,383 autistic people living in Greensboro.

Cities with the Highest Autism Rates in America

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9. Newark City, NJ

This is another New Jersey city that has made our list. Newark is the largest city in New Jersey with the estimated population of 277,140 people, out of which approximately 6,024 people are diagnosed as being autistic.

Cities with the Highest Autism Rates in America

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8. Atlanta, GA

The capital of Georgia has an estimated population of 420,003 people. Autism statistics of Georgia state that 1 in 64 people is autistic, which would imply that there are approximately 6,562 autistic individuals living in Atlanta. This statistics ranks Atlanta 8th on our list of 15 cities with the highest autism rates in America and 5th on the list of states with autism prevalence.

Cities with the Highest Autism Rates in America

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7. Kansas City, MO

The largest city in Missouri ranks 7th on our list. It has an estimated population of 475,378 people, meaning, there are approximately 6,791 autistic people living in Kansas City.

Cities with the Highest Autism Rates in America

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6. Mesa, AZ

Located east of Phoenix, an estimated 471,825 people live in this city. Given the numbers, there are approximately 7,372 who are diagnosed as being autistic and who live in Mesa, making it one of the cities with the highest autism rates in America.

Cities with the Highest Autism Rates in America

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5. Tucson, AZ

Yet another city of Arizona to make our list of cities with the highest autism rates in America. Tucson has a population of approximately 531,641 people. Considering autism statistics of Arizona, it is estimated that there are 8,306 autistic people living in this city.

Cities with the Highest Autism Rates in America

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4. Raleigh, NC

The capital of North Carolina has made our list, ranking higher than its neighbor, Durham. Raleigh has an estimated population of 451,066 people, which means that there are around 8,510 people who have an autism diagnosis living in this city.

Cities with the Highest Autism Rates in America

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3. Baltimore, MD

The third place on our list of the cities with the highest autism rates in America goes to the largest city in Maryland has a rich history and an estimated population of 620,961 people. Maryland ranks 4th on the list of states where autism is most prevalent, and it is estimated that 1 out of 60 people are diagnosed as being autistic. Given these statistics, around 10,349 autistic people live in Baltimore.

Cities with the Highest Autism Rates in America

Pixabay/Public Domain

2. Charlotte, NC

Charlotte is the largest city in North Carolina with an estimated population of 827,097 people, which implies that there are approximately 16,505 autistic individuals who live in Charlotte. That figure certainly is shocking.

Cities with the Highest Autism Rates in America

Pixabay/Public Domain

1. Phoenix, AZ

The first place on our list belongs to the most populated city in the state of Arizona. With the population of well over 1 million people, there are approximately 24,422 autistic individuals living in Phoenix. These devastating statistics place Phoenix on the top of our list as having the highest autism rate.

Cities with the Highest Autism Rates in America

Photographee.eu/Shutterstock.com

This was our list of 15 cities with the highest autism rates in America.